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While the Fancy Farm picnic has been a Kentucky political tradition for over a century, I've always been a bit put off by its reputation as a forum for negative, mudslinging speeches that are intended more to inflame than to inform.
Maybe that's why I appreciated Governor Steve Beshear's Fancy Farm speech this year, in which he ditched the usual nasty cracks about his opponents and instead used his time to talk about his recent trip to visit U.S. troops in the Middle East and to recognize their sacrifices.
While everyone who was there supports our troops, many have criticized the Governor for refusing to mix it up with the type of verbal cockfighting that's more typical of the event. They were disappointed that he didn't deliver the usual rhetorical bloodletting everyone comes to see.
Now, I certainly don't criticize David Williams or Gatewood Galbraith for sticking more to the script and dishing up the traditional barbs and insults. That's expected behavior at Fancy Farm, and no one should be scandalized by it. But I also believe Governor Beshear's decision to tone down the rhetoric was a smart one, and that it enhanced his image as the kind of statesman with the temperament to lead.
But maybe that's just my natural bias against negative campaigning. How do you feel about the Governor's Fancy Farm performance?